Monday, June 2nd, 2014
Infants who are offered a vegetable early in life are more likely to eat it than older children who are first exposed to the vegetable later on, according to research from the University of Leeds. Picky eaters are able to eat more of a vegetable each time they are offered it. Moreover, the study revealed that vegetables do not have to be hidden in other foods for kids to eat them. More from ScienceDaily:
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In the study, which was funded by the EU, the research team gave artichoke puree to 332 children from three countries aged from weaning age to 38 months. During the experiment each child was given between five and 10 servings of at least 100g of the artichoke puree in one of three versions: basic; sweetened, with added sugar; or added energy, where vegetable oil was mixed into the puree.
There was also little difference in the amounts eaten over time between those who were fed basic puree and those who ate the sweetened puree, which suggests that making vegetables sweeter does not make a significant difference to the amount children eat.
Younger children consumed more artichoke than older children. This is because after 24 months children become reluctant to try new things and start to reject foods — even those they previously liked. Among the children, four distinct groups emerged. Most children (40%) were “learners” who increased intake over time. Of the group, 21% consumed more than 75% of what was offered each time and they were called “plate-clearers.” Those who ate less than 10g even by the fifth helping were classified as “non-eaters,” amounting to 16% of the cohort, and the remainder were classified as “others” (23%) since their pattern of intake varied over time. Non-eaters, who tended to be older pre-school children, were the most fussy, the research found.
Globe artichoke was chosen as the sample vegetable because, as part of the research, parents were surveyed and artichoke was one of the least-offered vegetables. NHS guidelines are to start weaning children onto solid foods at six months.
The research has been published in the journal PLOS ONE.
Image via Shutterstock.
Monday, January 20th, 2014
American families are eating more meals at home, and those meals are healthier, a new study conducted by the U.S. Department of Agriculture has found. The findings include that Americans are consuming fewer calories overall, family meals are becoming more common, and more people are paying attention to the quality of the food they buy. More from Time.com:
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You can thank the recession, but when the economy started to sour in 2007, Americans stopped eating at restaurants and started to cook more meals at home. And most families have been listening to the onslaught of advice about how to eat healthier, since those meals were also respectably nutritious. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) report, adults born from 1946 to 1985 who were asked about their diets from 2005 to 2010 consumed fewer calories and less cholesterol and unhealthy fats.
“It’s good news for us,” said Kevin Concannon, USDA Under Secretary for Food, Nutrition and Consumer Services, in a press conference.
Concannon said that while meals at home still make up a minority of the average American’s diet, the trend is encouraging and hopefully represents the beginning of a shift in the way families eat.
Monday, December 16th, 2013
New scientific research conducted with mice may have major implications for how fathers think about their health before planning to have a baby. The study linked nutritional deficiencies in male mice with a higher risk that their offspring would be born with birth defects. The Washington Post has more:
The findings raise concerns about dads unknowingly passing on harmful traits through molecular markers on the DNA of their sperm.
These epigenetic markers don’t change the genetic information, but rather switch parts of the genome on and off. They are susceptible to environment and diet throughout fetal development, but were thought to be wiped clean before birth. New studies, including the one published online Tuesday in Nature Communications, have revealed that some of them may survive all the way from sperm to baby.
When analyzing the sperm epigenomes of the low-nutrition mice, the researchers found abnormalities in epigenetic markers that affected genes linked to development, neurological and psychological disorders and certain cancers.
“We should be looking carefully at the way a man is living his life,” said study author and reproductive biologist Sarah Kimmins of McGill University. “Environmental exposure is remembered in the developing sperm and transmitted to offspring.”
Since it takes human males about three months to produce fully grown sperm from stem cells, Kimmins speculates that men trying to have children could try cleaning up their diets even temporarily.
“If a man has been living a bad, unhealthy lifestyle, he will not only improve his own health but the health of his offspring,” she said.
Image: Man with healthy food in shopping basket, via Shutterstock
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Friday, November 15th, 2013
An Australian woman who is blogging about her lifestyle during pregnancy is stirring up major debate because of her “healthy” eating plan that many are calling extreme. More from The Huffington Post:
Loni Jane Anthony, a 25-year-old Australian woman who is 26 weeks pregnant, made headlines after giving an interview to News.com.au about her atypical diet, part of which includes a morning meal of 10 bananas.
The nutrition plan is called the 80:10:10 Diet, which is 80 percent carbs, 10 percent fat and 10 percent protein. It was founded by Dr. Douglas Graham, a raw foodist who doesn’t associate the plan with fruitarianism.
Anthony, who claimed to have had health problems in the past because of her poor diet, told News.com.au that transforming her eating habits about three years ago saved her life. Now, her average day starts with warm lemon water in the morning, followed by either half a watermelon, a banana smoothie or whole oranges, then five or six mangos for lunch and a large salad for dinner. She said she has an alcoholic drink once every five months….
But the young mom-to-be’s diet has some raising their eyebrows and wondering if the meal plan is healthy for her unborn child.
“I feel uncomfortable with Loni’s ‘transformation’ because it doesn’t sound safe for her baby,” blogger Ami Angelowicz of The Frisky wrote. “I’m not a doctor, of course, but common sense and the little knowledge I have about nutrition tells me that you have to consume more than bananas and mangoes each day when you’re eating for two. I really try not to concern myself with what other people eat (or how much CrossFit they do), but it seems irresponsible to glorify the extreme fruitarian lifestyle for pregnant women.”
A commenter questioned if her banana intake could lead to hyperkalemia, or high potassium in the blood. Information from the Mayo Clinic on the condition, however, does not suggest it would.
Others, like Mommyish blogger Eva Vawter, doesn’t think Anthony’s diet is anyone’s business. Vawter wrote that even if the 6-month-pregnant woman “ate 90 bags of Cheetos and had an IV of Mountain Dew hooked into her vein” it still wouldn’t be anyone’s business.
The Mayo Clinc advises pregnant women to maintain a diet that includes fruits, vegetables, whole grains and lean protein. It also says that nutrients like folic acid, calcium, vitamin D, protein and iron are important during pregnancy. These can be obtained via foods like spinach, beans, milk, yogurt, salmon, eggs, lentils and poultry.
Could you be pregnant? Take our quiz and find out! We’ve planned your week of pregnancy meals (and snacks).
Image: Mound of bananas, via Shutterstock
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Friday, September 20th, 2013
Government-subsidized food assistance programs aimed at families, specifically the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC), started offering more whole grain options, including whole wheat bread and brown rice, in 2009. A new study by researchers at Yale University has concluded that the changes have positively impacted the eating habits of the families who use WIC services. More from Time.com:
Before the changes, breakfast cereals were the only grains offered to these women. But after 2009, WIC food packages included whole wheat bread, and 50% of WIC cereals contained whole grains. WIC-authorized stores were also required to carry whole wheat bread and cereal on their shelves.
Did the changes help consumers to include more whole grains in their diet? Researchers from the Yale Rudd Center for Food Policy & Obesity studied bread and rice purchases made at a WIC participating supermarket chain in New England for two years, and reported their findings in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine. They found that prior to the WIC changes, most food assistance purchases included white bread and white rice. But after the revisions, the amount of 100% whole wheat bread purchases tripled and brown rice purchases rose by 30%.
By providing more whole grain options, the researchers say, WIC officials were able to meet their goal of increasing whole grain consumption among those relying on food assistance programs.
Image: Whole grain bread, via Shutterstock
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